Humanizing the digital experience


Bank of the West


San Francisco


Strategic Research
Social Impact + Sustainability
Design + Engineering

The Challenge

Bank of the West’s objective was to improve the banking experience for a new generation of digitally native customers. The bank had two goals:

  1. Create a compelling, mobile-first, front-end experience.
  2. Resolve a complex navigation and information architecture that made it difficult for customers to find the products and services they needed.

The Opportunity

As the Bank of the West website evolved with new products and features added over time, the site’s back-end experience became increasingly complex. To create a more intuitive front-end experience, the team needed to reconsider how the back-end worked. A new back-end experience would allow the website to continue growing based on user needs.

The Solution

We worked with the Bank of the West teams to overhaul their design system so that the Bank’s internal design team could more easily give customers a consistent digital experience, both in the app and on the web. This also allowed the marketing department to have a more flexible and adaptive platform for future solutions. The design system has allowed the Bank to deliver what customers need, quickly and effortlessly. We then redesigned the home page and other key areas of the site to bring the design system to life and provide the bank with a new face.

Our Approach

An infrastructure for future marketing efforts

We conducted an audit on the full range of the existing customer experience to create a benchmark assessment of their offerings. Using our research, we designed a responsive component library to enable marketers to put together new pages quickly with pre-approved elements and templates.

Improved product discoverability 

We improved the overall content layout and navigation experience with a responsive and mobile-first mindset. The result is visually compelling and clear, making the system approachable, trustworthy, and transparent.

A Scalable Design System

We tested and explored the interactions of each component before the Bank’s internal development team integrated them into the Bank’s CMS, while complying with strict ADA requirements. As product offerings continue to grow, the design system will scale to support the portfolio. This will empower customers to be able to continue discovering new products as they are added.

Bringing the Bank's values to life

Bank of the West has the strongest environmental policy of any major U.S. bank. They created 1% for the Planet, a membership program in which individuals or businesses can donate 1% of their salaries or revenue directly to approved environmental nonprofits. We integrated their corporate values across the design system, elevating the Bank’s strong commitments to sustainability and diversity in an easily digestible and highly impactful format. We also helped them bring their editorial thought leadership content for the various lines of business to their landing pages using modular card designs. Now, an authentic and relatable voice offers a window into the company’s priorities: financial institutions can make a positive impact on people, and on the planet they inhabit.

“Bank of the West is already deeply committed to its values around planet and people, and so the bigger question becomes: how are we getting that message out across all touchpoints? It’s about embedding it across all of our digital properties.”

-- Hisham Salama

Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Bank of the West

The Impact

Bank of the West offers customers a new way to bank. The scalable design system includes reusable components in a design library that can be leveraged across a variety of digital products, ensuring consistency across all lines of business. The overall result is a complete evolution of the Bank’s digital offerings and branding that clearly differentiates Bank of the West from other more traditional banks in the market.